#9 May Nexus Weekly Church Newsletter 2020 #9

#9 May Nexus Weekly Church Newsletter 2020 #9

News from Pastor Denise

Over the past week there have been some interesting things vying for my attention. They range from a pamphlet I received in the mail stating that Christianity is dying, and another that I received stating the many ways in which the world is coming to an end, with the pandemic being just one of many to come.

Thankfully, I have also been reading various e-mails about fun things to do during this time that we are sheltering in place. Things like how to plan a quarantine birthday party or and graduation. Things like teaching your four-year old to ride a bike. Things like turning even small areas of your home into exercise studios or obstacle courses for kids. Things like getting up early with the family to see a glorious sunrise or watching a beautiful sunset in the evening.

These things might seem unrelated, but believe it or not, the sturdy thread tying these things together is good old Christian hope. Perhaps now more than ever, we need to cling to that hope that even the specter of the coronavirus cannot spoil.

Jesus has told us that no one knows the time when he will come again, and I am going to go with that. Meanwhile, as we wait, we have work to do to make the world a better place. Yes, there are terrible things happening around the world, and things are made much worse when we see them on our phones 24 hours a day. It’s unfortunate that our media lives by the policy that if it bleeds, it leads.

We make the following complaints, warnings, and observations about the church and society. Christianity has become watered down. People no longer read the Bible. Church attendance is declining. Crime rates are increasing. Porn is everywhere. Clothing has become increasingly racy. Television is more violent. Commercials are more sexual. Kids no longer respect their elders. The Gospel is being sacrificed for the sake of accommodating cultural trends. Did I catch everything?

We imagine an idyllic past when everyone shared our morals; when indecency was confined to the shadows; when violence was rare and kindness was common. We look at the moral decay in our modern world and wonder if things have ever been this bad.

We should consider that things are not as bad as they might seem. We should consider that the past wasn’t as great as we think it was, and the present isn’t as bad as we assume it is.

We should keep in mind that when church attendance numbers in the U.S were highest, slavery, segregation, racism, sexism, and child labor were rampant. Women couldn’t vote, corruption was everywhere, there was no such thing as creation care and violence ruled the land.

So yes, there are many problems, but there is also much hope. So don’t count out the church or the power of the Holy Spirit just yet. The Psalmist says, ‘the joy of the Lord is my strength’. Never forget the sustaining ability of good old Christian hope. Make it a point to laugh and to find some bit of joy in your life each day.

Have wonderful June.

Random Thoughts from your loving pastor,

Denise

Coming Soon: Lectionary Study Group


Greetings All,

Coming Soon:

Lectionary Study Group

Have you ever wanted to comment on one of my sermons, or wanted to know why I focused on one area at the expense of another area? Have you ever been interested in learning more about the context of a particular biblical story? Well, I am interested in your comments.

I am starting a Lectionary Study Group via zoom. We would get together each week to look at the text that will be preached on the coming Sunday. The class time would be one hour.

If you are interested in attending, let’s plan to get together next Wednesday at 2:00 pm. The zoom link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82286125796

All are invited, and I hope to see you.

Pastor Denise

COVID-19TESTS MORE THAN OUR BODIES

BY REV. PAUL GRAVES

“Six feet of separation”. “Six degrees of separation.” They may look similar, but they really aren’t! The first, a medical caution during the COVID-19 is to keep six feet of separation between “me and thee.” A wise precaution.

Six degrees of separation is the popular idea that all people are six, or fewer, social connections from each other. The term was first used in 1929 — and popularized in a 1993 movie of the same name — to emphasize how closely connected people are all over the world.

The first phrase denotes the physical separation of people. The second points to the emotional connections of people. Both seem circumstantially appropriate in this time of medical, economic and social crises. Both phrases suggest ways that COVID-19 is testing more than our bodies.

The health crisis is testing not just our ability, but our willingness, to keep our physical distance from other persons even while we reach out to support other people. And when some kind of supportive opportunity presents itself, most people are quickly ready to step up in some way!

Again, our finest impulses are working overtime to pull our country together to care for the vulnerable, to heal those with the coronavirus, and to remind each other how connected we are to one another. We see this in newspapers, TV news shows, even TV commercials, social media posts, or anecdotal stories told to each other.

We see and hear of people helping one another in simple, caring ways, or in highly organized ways. We offer this humblebrag as a reason why we do this: “well, our community is just like this”; “our country can pull together in a time of crisis.”

And that is true. But it’s beyond the place we live that prompts us to help others. It’s because we are human! We are wired, if you will, to reach out to others with compassionate support.

Deep down inside our very being, our souls — regardless of what our defensive egos might prompt us to stupidly, hurtfully, do at times — we hope intuitively that we are not alone. We act out an often-silent connectedness to others because that’s who we really are!

Our world health-crisis moment called COVID-19 compels us to remember this: All of creation is impacted by how we manage ourselves, how we relate to each other, and how we work together to nourish our finest impulses. We are not built to do this as individuals, folks.

We often live our daily lives in the illusion bubble that we are individuals first, last and always. But God created us also to be in healthy, nurturing, relationships with others. In spite of our theologies and rituals that insist we are separate from each other, and even God, ultimately we aren’t.

In Romans 8:38-39, Paul reminds us that NOTHING SEPARATES US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD. These verses are warmly repeated by countless Christians at a variety of times. But I wonder how deeply those repetitions go into our very being, our souls. Not very deep, as I observe.

A quick look today at the empty toilet-paper shelves in grocery stores suggests that it’s “every person for him/her self”. Now, admittedly, some people may buy extra TP to give to someone else. I surely hope so. Be thankful! Even empty TP shelves won’t separate us from the love of God!

The COVID-19 is testing more than our bodies. Our spirits are getting a great test too. We will pass it as best we can as individuals, even standing six feet apart. But we’re strongest when we live as Helping Community.

The Rev. Paul Graves serves as the chair for the Council on Older Adult Ministries for the Pacific Northwest Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Some Pioneers of the Methodist Church

Here is a look at some of the leaders that helped get the Methodist Church going in the United States. We’ve already covered John Wesley and his influence. Now, here’s a few more and their notability:

1. Francis Asbury - (1745-1816) Sent by John Wesley as a missionary to America in 1771, he promoted the circuit rider system that brought Methodism to the frontier. Asbury is considered to be one of the founding Bishop of the Methodist Church in America.

2. Thomas Coke - (1747-1814) An Oxford trained lawyer turned priest, Coke openly allied himself with the Methodists in England. He along with Asbury, were the first Bishops in the Methodist Episcopal Church in America. Hoping to open Methodist missions in the East Indies, in 1814 he set sail for Ceylon, but died on the way.

3. Philip Otterbein - (1726-1813) Bishop Otterbein was a German-American clergyman. He, along with a few other clergy and lay preachers, laid the foundation in 1789 of a denomination to be known as the United Brethren in Christ, which eventually merged with the Methodist Church.

4. Absalom Jones - (1746- 1818) An African-American abolitionist and clergyman who became prominent in Philadelphia. In 1794, Jones founded the first black Episcopal congregation and he and Richard Allen (1760-1831) were the first African-Americans to be ordained in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

5. Helenor M. Davisson - (1823- ?) The daughter of a preacher in Indiana. In 1866, she was ordained a Deacon, becoming the first woman ordained in American Methodism.

6. Sallie A. Crenshaw - (1900-1986) and Nora E. Young - (dates unknown)

In 1958, Sallie and Nora became the first African-American women to receive full clergy rights in the Methodist Church.

7. Naomi P. F. Southard - (1951) First Japanese woman to be receive full clergy rights in the Methodist Church.

8. Marjorie Matthews - (1916-1986) The second district superintendent and, in 1980, the first woman to become a bishop in the United Methodist Church.

These are but a few that appear in the Archives of the Methodist Church.

~Rich

Happy Birthday –

7-Shantel Rose

16-Steve Speer

20-Jessica Byers

20-Arland Michel

25-Sammi Schoeben

Happy Anniversary –

7-Bob & Dolores Todd

12-Bill & Sally Bush

12-Bob & Joyce Scheuerman

20-Bruce & Nancy Kaufmann

22-Bruce & Geri Baldwin

30-Robert & Lillian Carr

If we missed your birthday or anniversary, or if you are new to our congregation, please call the church office (360-491-2030) or write it on your attendance card Sunday so we can update our records.

Prayer Requests

You are invited to call in your prayer request to the church office (360-491-2030) or to any time of the day or evening. If you get an answering machine, please leave the request or your name and telephone number.

Please pray for God’s peace & presence St. Andrew’s Families:

—Dave Reed —Jackie Hinchcliffe

—Dick Hinchcliffe —Vi Statler

—Tom Lund —Carol Nichols

—Mary Novy —Jim Martin

—Barbara Hawley —Phil & Pat Latimer

—Dr. John Britcher —Bea Aho

—Bill Bush —Sumi Atkins

—Sara Lyon —Jerry McKusker

—Boni Lenahan —Greg Leppert

—Donna Brooke —Lois Brighten

—Gary Skaar —Lillian Carr

—Amy Dickey & Family

 

Church Directory

Have you lost your church directory? Do you need to connect with new members? Please call the church office (360-491-2030) or email Kathy at saumc@comcast.net to get a replacement.

Children & Youth Ministries

Youth Group Hiatus for June

Shortly after the stay-home order was put in place for our state we began offering a weekly virtual gathering for our youth. It has been a joyous time to get to know some of our young people better and be in prayer together during this season.

After prayer and discernment we have decided that co-op youth group will take a break from virtual gatherings for the month of June. Your youth ministry leaders will be spending the month in conversation and relationship building with the youth through phone calls, texts and emails (cc'd to grownups for safe sanctuaries purposes) while we dream for what youth ministry will look like in July, August and beyond.

There are many factors that will help us determine what we do next, including the Bishop's guidelines that in-person youth ministry cannot resume until Phase 4 (of the Bishop's phased re-opening, not the state's plan). But the most important factor is input and leadership from the youth themselves. We look forward to hearing your ideas and your dreams!

Blessings to you all for the coming month!

Three Ways to Connect

Sunday Morning Worship

10 am on St. Andrew’s UMC - FaceBook or the South Sound YouTube Channel (you can view past Sunday services on this YouTube channel as well):

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVuK2rdwK2sYlJIKeiNCWfA

Tuesday Morning Prayer Group

9:00 am - Go to www.fumcoly.org Online Faith Formation Morning Prayer

Thursday Morning Bread of Life

10:30 am Contact the church for the zoom link (360-491-2030) or send us an email and we will send it to you. Church email is: saumc@comcast.net

 

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